Rockies 2, Pirates 1: a late rally wins for Rox
The Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates both pitched well on Tuesday, but it was the Rox who escaped with the extra innings victory by beating the Bucs 2-1.
Two is enough for Freeland
Kyle Freeland allowed just two hits throughout his start, and somehow that was enough to set him up for the loss when he left the game. The southpaw struggled with long shots and occasional command issues to throw 4 1⁄3 solid innings, not allowing a hit through the first four frames. Pittsburgh’s only base runners at this point had been through a walk and a hit-per-throw.
Round five, however, was where his problems arose. It started off fairly innocuously with a strikeout from Yoshi Tsutsugo before an excuse me swing from Diego Castillo ever so slightly just on the right field line for a double. Pirates rookie Cal Mitchell, playing his first game in MLB, then lifted a bloop to center field that tagged Castillo and gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Not a bad way to collect your first major league hit and your RBI.
After walking Michael Pérez, Freeland came up for Jhoulys Chacín. The veteran lead player managed to register the last two outs without a problem, but that single run scored would seem insurmountable for most of the game.
The Rockies didn’t miss any scoring opportunities. Take the start of the second inning, when a walk and brace from Randal Grichuk and José Iglesias, respectively, put the runners in second and third place. Sam Hilliard sent the first pitch from his stick to center field to end the threat without showing anything.
The top of the fourth image was about the same. A one-out single from Brendan Rodgers (who has now extended his hitting streak to 12 games) put a man on base. It was followed by a two-out single from Iglesias who, after stealing second base, again put two men in scoring position with two outs. Hilliard’s second scoring opportunity followed the first, however, as he struck to let starting rookie Roansy Contreras off the hook.
Contreras, only in his second MLB start, used a combination of fastball, slider and curveball to throw the Rockies off balance. He pitched five innings and allowed three hits and two walks while striking out five. He is yet to score in his eight total innings as a starter.
Break through finally
It took a while, but the Rockies finally managed to snatch a run in the eighth inning. Elías Díaz opened the frame and reached on a field error by shortstop Rodolfo Castro. He was then picked up by Garrett Hampson, who moved to third base on singles with a Charlie Blackmon out. Pittsburgh then brought in reliever Chris Stratton to escape the jam, and he started off on the right foot by striking out CJ Cron (Cron, who went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts, hits less than .200 away from Coors). Now with two outs, Ryan McMahon hit an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1.
The Rockies would not score that inning again, but with the draw they were that much closer to victory.
Ninth Round Scares
The Rockies bullpen was great on Tuesday, as Chacín teamed up with Lucas Gilbreath and Alex Colomé to combine for 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three (thanks in part to excellent defense by Ryan McMahon).
They did their job of relaying things to Daniel Bard, who would try to keep the game tied and send it to extra innings.
It wouldn’t come easily. Bard walked Castro before hitting Tsutsugo as Castro flew second. Pinched hitter Josh VanMeter then sent a terrifying foul near the third base sack, almost a hit, before settling for a field single to put the winning run at third base with one out. Rookie Mitchell arrived, who failed too short. Iglesias pitched home to reduce the run, and Bard forced Pérez out to get out of the jam.
Come on CoJoe, come on!
Now in the tenth inning and facing David Bednar, the Rockies finally took their first lead of the game thanks to a Connor Joe hit. Joe, who was originally drafted by the Pirates in 2014, sent a 1-1 fastball down the middle to score Hilliard from second place, setting Colorado up for good as Bard launched a clean bottom from the tenth to seal the deal.
The Rockies get the win, but haven’t scored an earned run in their last three games. It’s the first time in Colorado history that they’ve gone this long without an earned run.
But hey, a win is a win!
There’s one game left in Pittsburgh as the Rockies and Pirates wrap up their streak. Ryan Feltner (0-1, 7.20 ERA) gets the start for Colorado in just his second appearance of the season. Zach Thompson (2-4, 4.88 ERA) gets the ball back for Pittsburgh.
The first throw is at 10:35 MDT. See you later!